dietary supplements

I have almost thirteen years of experience using dietary supplements. If for any reason one has a deficient diet, I think dietary supplements are a must.

In my case, not only my diet was deficient, but I’m a vegetarian; my diet was deficient even at the vegetarian level.


This case study will look at the use of dietary supplements from the point of view of a vegetarian athlete.

Most supplements I used were either to supply something I was missing due to my deficient diet, or something that I took that helped me to perform the different kinds of exercise I train, in an always evolving, more efficient way.


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I will analyze the powders and pills I began to take when I started to train with weights.

When I use supplements my goal is to continue to evolve physically. That’s hard when one is a vegetarian, and I knew it from day one of weight-lifting.

I supplemented my diet for my objective, to evolve physically. To continuously gain muscle and to shed fat, while keeping or increasing my weight, at my optimal body-mass index.

When I take supplements the scheme is something like this:

    Spirulina just after waking up; 
    A micro-dose of royal jelly. or orange juice with brewer's yeast, while fixing up breakfast
    Multivitamins with breakfast, or before breakfast with a cup of spirulina
    Sometimes I take a supplement with me to drink in the gym, like a bottle of water with a serving of glutamine
    Protein shake with milk and three or four plain toasts of whole wheat bread (or one or two apples) as a light meal

Some of these dietary supplements you can incorporate into your diet with a little research from one’s part.

Others, like vitamins, are more dangerous and they need to be prescribed by a professional. Vitamin D, for example, if you take them the wrong way can promote kidney and gallbladder stones.

It isn’t a bad idea to tell one’s physician about all the supplements one takes because they can have a more complete picture of our health’s state knowing everything we eat and supplement with.

Many variables factor into a balanced and supplemented diet, and if you aren’t the DIY type I suggest you consult not just your general physician, but also a nutritionist.

Weight Gainer Powders

 I must have taken weight gainers as dietary supplements for four to six months, when I started training with weights, thirteen years ago. I never took them again.

They helped me to gain weight, but I wouldn’t recommend the one I took to anyone. It made me gain mostly fat. I don’t even remember the brand.

Maybe the one I used was a very low-quality calorie gainer instead of a protein-based one. Its components were anything but healthy. I remember it had common sugar instead of something healthier and of higher nutritional value, like maltodextrin.

Creatine Powders as Dietary Supplements

 I tried creatine in different forms (powder, pill) as dietary supplements and it didn’t work for me. It helps to work out harder. It’s supposed to protect against dehydration and give the muscles more water than they can hold normally.

Pure creatine had a dehydrating effect that I didn’t like, that’s why I stopped taking it.

Not long ago, I experimented with lower doses and used it together with protein. It didn’t have the dehydrating effect of taking it alone.

I didn’t take the non-dehydrating dose for long to be able to say that it worked for me, but at least I didn’t lose muscle while taking it.

Glutamine Powder

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Micronized L-Glutamine powder was one of my top dietary supplements for years. When I used to eat a very poor, unbalanced diet, I couldn’t function without frequent micronized glutamine supplementation.

The function of this supplement is to improve one's recovery. It is not much about reducing the soreness I feel after a workout. It also helps with digestion.

I took it because it had an effect on me of canceling I’d say 70-90% of the feeling of tiredness I get the days after I work out.

I used to take a lot of this until I realized that maybe I was wasting it. I used to take the recommended daily dosage.

When I tapered my glutamine intake down, I first stopped taking the whole spoon that comes with it. I took half. Then I started taking just a coffee spoon of it daily. It still worked for me at such a lower dosage.

Fat Burners as Dietary Supplements

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This might sound biased, but I think fat burners are snake oil. I think that eating in the wrong way and expecting a pill to burn the fat is wishful thinking. I took several fat burners as dietary supplements for a while, but none of them worked as expected. The effects were marginal at best. I don't remember which brands I took, but I guess it was like in the case of weight gainers, I took the ones I found. Now, the product in the picture, Animal Cuts, must work, because it has above-average popularity with users.

Vitamins as Dietary Supplements

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As I see it, vitamins should be taken on a need-to basis, and only after having a physician see a complete checkup of our organism and prescribe only what we exactly need.

I’m not including multivitamins, because they aren’t specific. Besides, it’s presupposed that those who take them are eating a balanced, complete diet already.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a big subject. It always interested me to get my daily share of sunlight, to synthesize D vitamin, but that kind of became incompatible with my work schedule.

The best times, I was able to go outside and exercise in the sun from four to six pm. I thought that it was enough for vitamin D synthesis, but in fact, it was far from the truth.

Truth is, vitamin D only gets synthesized naturally if these conditions are met:

    Vitamin-D-rich diet
    The correct approach, i.e., more than 50% of skin exposed to the sun, daily
    Correct timing, i.e., sunlight intake between ten A.M. and four P.M.

Now, everybody knows that the sun becomes the most dangerous (or so doctors say) between eleven and four, so that leaves us with only one hour to do the sunbathing, from ten to eleven in the morning.

That isn’t practical for the great majority, and that’s why vitamin D supplementation is so important. Still, it’s something that one can’t self-medicate. They’re tricky and potentially dangerous and must be supervised by a physician.

B Vitamins Complex

I was prescribed by a physician a complex of B vitamins. The doctor said, after seeing the results of a checkup, that I had a deficiency of these vitamins, like most vegetarians, who can’t get enough of them from their diets. The combination I take is B12, B1, B6. Yet, there are Vitamin B Complexes that carry more of them, like all nine of them, folic acid, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B12 in a single pill. 

Vitamin A as a Dietary Supplement

This one is for the eyes and bones. It’s another one that’s tricky like vitamin D. It can’t be taken indefinitely and like most vitamins, it must be supervised by a physician.


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Spirulina is an alga that provides many of the essential amino acids required for building muscle. It also can be consumed in powder form.

would recommend this supplement to vegetarians who aren’t getting their daily intake of micro-nutrients. Even more so if they happen to be weight trainers, like me.

In my case, supplementing spirulina makes all the difference. It makes all the difference between being able to reach a corporal weight objective and being able to maintain it or not. I don’t know the hard science behind this, I just know that it works.

I’d suggest that those who have a hard time gaining weight try this supplement before resorting to any kind of weight-gaining powder.

Fish Oil Capsules as Dietary Supplements

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Many persons who train with weights adore taking different kinds of oil as dietary supplements. Fatty acids are important when one does exercise since they are building blocks of muscle.

Goes without saying that vegetarian and vegan diets should benefit from supplementing omega-3 fatty acids.

I took fish oil capsules for a few months, but in my case, it was to support my intake of noopept. Since I ate scads of egg whites when I was taking noopept, the fish oil pills might have been overkill. I haven't taken fatty acid supplements since I calibrated my diet.


I think one can live to eat a poor diet, but that would be a sorry replacement for how we are supposed to treat the body.

Still, if one does any kind of exercise, then a poor diet is not living, but mere survival. It’s an overtaxing of the body that it shouldn’t be subjected to.

There are many more reasons to take dietary supplements, even if one’s day-to-day diet is complete. One, for instance, would be if one is serious about bodybuilding.

For cases like mine, where I’m a vegetarian and do weight-lifting workouts, even if I’m not what one would call a bodybuilding man, the convenience and help they provide was and still is invaluable.


I try to take nutritional supplements constantly. Still, I take care of rotating them. I rotate them not only by brand but also by type. I never take the same supplement for more than one month in a row, except for the protein shake, and I always try to get a different brand each month.

Even if I discover a particular formula that works better than others for me, I don’t take it constantly. At the very least I try to find another brand that is manufactured with more or less the same components.

When I’m taking vitamins, I try not to overdo it, and if possible, go back to the physician before beginning a new cycle of the ones that can cause problems, like vitamin D and vitamin A.

Overall dietary supplements have helped me, if not to gain muscle downright, at least to keep my body-mass index balanced and to keep my weight if I missed one or two meals, during two or three days of a bad week. 

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